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Historic attraction Apps

Posted: 2011-03-30

Historic attraction Apps

If Shakespeare was around today, do you think he would have had Hamlet say 'The app's the thing' rather than 'The play's the thing'? It seems that every company out there from High Street retailers to eCommerce wannabees is rushing out apps for this and apps for that. There's probably even apps to keep track of your apps. But here's one that might be useful if you plan on visiting historic properties in England and Wales.

Actually, there's more than one; I was going to mention the new National Trust app for iPhone and Android platforms, but when I researched a bit further I realised that there are several other useful options for both platforms that go beyond the National Trust option. So here's a quick rundown on the current state of the app market if you want to know where to see historic sites in Britain:

National Trust app
Price - free
Up to date with the current 2011 handbook. Find National Trust places close to your geographic location or use your postcode to locate nearby properties. Information includes opening times, prices, contact details and directions. You can save your favourite places to create an itinerary.
More information on the National Trust app
For iPhone / iPod - running iOS 3.0+
For Android - for phones running Android 1.6+

Cadw app
Price - free
Information on over 120 Cadw castles and ancient sites in Wales, with a Google map to show the exact location of each site, and directions for reaching it via roads, and public transport, and cycle routes.
iTunes/iPhone/iPad - Requires iOS 3.2 or above
For Android - for Android version 2.2 and higher

London Pass app
Price - free for Pass holders, or purchase at £2.99 / US$4.99 / €3.99
The app provides London Pass holders with information on nearby visitor attractions, special offers, maps, themed itinerary ideas, plus full descriptions and opening details of each property.
For iPhone / iPad

Great British Heritage Pass app
Price - free for pass holders
Available exclusively to overseas visitors to download free of charge. Find information on all 480 properties in the Pass scheme, with attraction photographs, maps. Find attractions by theme (eg castles, gardens, stately homes) or by area. Create your own itinerary or use a pre-built itinerary.
For iPad / iPhone

All of the apps I've mentioned so far are more or less proprietary - they list only one organisation or attractions working with a specific pass. But there is at least one paid option that offers information for multiple organisations, which might prove more useful:

Heritage app
Price - $0.99 / £0.59
Heritage App gives useful information on historic locations across England and Wales (Scotland is coming), including properties from English Heritage, CADW and other, independently operated sites. Get map directions and create an itinerary list. The Heritage app lists more than 400 English Heritage sites, and over 150 Welsh Heritage sites (CADW).
For iPhone, iPod touch and iPad - Requires iOS 3.1 or above

One thing you notice is that Scottish information is generally lacking. I'm not sure why that is, but as far as I can tell, Historic Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland have been lagging behind their English counterparts. Come on, Scotland, let's see some useful apps for the north!

Heritage Traveller

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